COVID-19 has caused much angst for project managers in every respect. Not only have projects halted due to outbreaks at client sites, there is unavailability of staff and scarcity of materials and equipment due to shipping delays. Add to this the increased costs associated with delays and shortages – it’s no wonder that project managers are feeling the pinch.
More than ever, the ability to tap into every avenue for resource allocation is now apparent. Here are some expert tips around how you can widen your resource pool, or frankly, just get more out of the resources with which you already have, by using advanced tools and techniques.
Project managers think they have pretty good visibility over internal and indirect staff but if they are not dedicated resources to the project, it can be difficult for project managers to know if their workload is at full capacity. Most of them are working remotely in various different time zones, also complicating visibility over availability.
Contractors and sub contractors are often stretched across multiple clients, where indirect delays that are out of their control can affect their agreed availability. Good contractor relationships are key and will always be the first technique to securing ample availability from this cohort.
Expert Tip 1: It sounds simple, but having visibility over desired working hours and days of the week from each of your resources can actually release more availability. Who is available on Saturdays or Sundays? Who is willing to work on public holidays? When are the resources’ public holidays in their region/province? Is there an acceptance for over time? Note, this will affect your cost and will require some resource levelling, but it’s nevertheless worthwhile knowing what your options are. Having project management tools that allow for you to explore different “What if” scenarios helps.
Expert tip 2: Have you asked contractors to connect you with sub contractors? Project management software allows for you to build databases and communities of your contractors and employees that can be searched by availability through advanced shared schedules.
Expert tip 3: Have you asked your clients if they have available resources for the project? Many project management planning tools allow for you to give client access and allocate them as resources to your projects. This is a great way to keep them engaged and invested in the project too.
Expert tip 4: Reallocate resource to the project as necessary. Many things can happen that require a shift of resources from one task to another, or a change in the project schedule or budget. Using a tool also allows for you to view multiple projects to see where resources might be on hold in one project and available for another.
Expert tip 5: Track Utilization Rates.It is a surprisingly common occurrence that a resource arrives at a project and sits idle for a long period of time or must conduct lengthy inductions at client sites. Give your resources a simple mobile app with the functionality for them to upload daily tasks, ad hoc tasks, as well as the allocated tasks so that you can quantify the utilization rate which is simply the percentage of billable time: Utilization Rate = Number of Billable Hours / Number of Total Hours. From here, you can proactively implement better preparation for resources ahead of the date where possible, by sending mobile notifications with instruction.
Drive Lynx is a project management software portal that accelerates project performance.
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